Women

The energy amplifier

Coriander contains a huge range of vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins thiamine, riboflavin and folate, which help give us energy. Add in iron, which makes haemoglobin to carry oxygen around the body, and you have a general tonic effect.

Coriander is believed to have antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties, meaning it may reduce symptoms of eczema and hay fever.

Coriander is believed to have antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties, meaning it may reduce symptoms of eczema and hay fever.

Coriander is also believed to reduce both cholesterol and blood pressure, but is best known for its antibacterial and antifungal effect. If you have had an upset tummy, it could help. Coriander is believed to have antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties, meaning it may reduce symptoms of eczema and hay fever.

How to use it: Coriander makes a great addition to a stir-fry or stirred into a curry at the end. It’s notoriously tricky to grow so buying it ready-cut is a safe option.

The immune booster

Parsley contains more vitamin C, gram for gram, than most citrus fruits, so it’s a great way to charge your immunity. Two tablespoons of fresh, chopped parsley also contains 150 per cent of your RDA of vitamin K, which is important for bone health. It’s also a source of both vitamin A and folate. The latter is especially important for pregnant women or those who are trying for a baby, as it’s been shown to reduce the incidence of Spina bifida in babies.

Parsley contains more vitamin C, gram for gram, than most citrus fruits, so it’s a great way to charge your immunity.

Parsley contains more vitamin C, gram for gram, than most citrus fruits, so it’s a great way to charge your immunity.

Parsley is a diuretic, helping to combat annoying bloating and water retention. It’s also a known anti-inflammatory agent, used in traditional medicine as a remedy for rheumatoid arthritis Symptoms.

How to use Parsley tea can taste a big ‘grassy’, so the fresh herb is best added to soups and sauces. Combined with bulgur wheat, it’s one of the dominant flavors in Middle Eastern tabbouleh.

The anti-ager

Basil is packed full of flavonoids, which have been shown to protect cells from Chromosoma damage. The two key flavonoids in basil are Orientin and vicenin, and both have been shown to reduce cell damage from radiation and free radicals as well as protect the skin from the sun Basil also contains iron for energy and healthy blood, and magnesium, which is a good muscle relaxant. Traditionally, basil has been used to treat colds and fevers, stomach pains (because of its anti-spasmodic effect) and flatulence.

Basil is packed full of flavonoids, which have been shown to protect cells from chromosoma damage.

Basil is packed full of flavonoids, which have been shown to protect cells from Chromosoma damage.

How to use it: Basil can be used in savory soups and sauces - and, of course, it’s the key ingredient in pesto! It also works well torn and sprinkled over salads or fresh strawberries.

The digestion soother

Traditionally served after meals, Mint can help to break down fat, and is thought to improve your digestion. Chewing on the leaves or making a tea also releases the decongestant menthol, making it a natural remedy for a stuffy nose. It can also help relieve nausea and headaches.

Traditionally served after meals, Mint can help to break down fat, and is thought to improve your digestion.

Traditionally served after meals, Mint can help to break down fat, and is thought to improve your digestion.

Mint is high in vitamin C (important for proper brain function and healthy skin), vitamin A (a potent antioxidant), and manganese. These also help with the metabolism of fat and protein, another reason mint is such an effective digestive.

How to use it: Make a tea by steeping some fresh mint leaves in boiling water or chop the leaves and stir into fresh peas or a salad. Mix the leaves with yoghurt and chopped cucumber to make an Indian Raita.

The cancer fighter

Several studies have shown that consuming Rosemary can reduce the risk of breast cancer by blocking some of the damaging effects of Oestrogen in the body. This makes it a particularly useful herb for those who have a family history of breast cancer.

Rosemary boasts a long list of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, which is important for skin healing, and two phenolics - caffeic acid and rosmarinic acid. These are both anti-inflammatory, so may help to ease inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and asthma. Rosemary also has a strong antibacterial effect that has long made this pungent herb a remedy for a nasty sore throat.

This makes it a particularly useful herb for those who have a family history of breast cancer.

This makes it a particularly useful herb for those who have a family history of breast cancer.

How to use it: Rosemary goes really well with meat, especially with lamb, where it has a semi-preservative effect. The natural oils also aid the digestion of saturated fats. It’s a hardy plant and will grow well in a pot. Avoid cutting whole branches and instead pinch off leaves from the top.

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